February 1, 2012

Goodbye Delicious, Hello Pinboard

Goodbye Delicious

There are two types of people in the world, those who rarely save bookmarks, and those who have thousands. If you're like me, you probably have thousands or at least a few hundred. For me it's more exactly 4466 bookmarks at last count. (If you're not like me, a bookmark hoarder, then you probably want to skip this article.)

Over the past 10-15 years I've collected tons of bookmarks because I like to keep track of cool, useful and interesting things I find online so if I ever want to go back to them I can.

I've spent countless hours over the years keeping things clean, ordered and organized so I can actually make use of this information. As you can imagine if you don't keep this many bookmarks organized and neat there's absolutely no point in saving them in the first place, since you won't be able to find anything if you so choose at a later time.

Bookmarks, when used correctly are nothing more than a self maintained cache of the things you've found most interesting or useful. Thus they are a treasure trove of data for various services such as  delicious or various others which have capitalized on this.

Delicious was founded in 2003, and was essentially the company that introduced social bookmarking and tagging to the masses. That said and done I didn't really get on board with them until a few years ago when I outgrew my bookmarking needs. Trying to manage several thousand bookmarks across multiple browsers and multiple computers does that to you.

But delicious has not delivered and has recently started to fall short, in part due to Yahoo firing the delicious team, and its subsequent purchase by Youtube founders.

Here's just a few problems I found:

  • Slow syncing of bookmarks in browser
  • Having to sometimes log in every day 
  • Firefox addons would stop working after upgrading to certain version of Firefox
  • The pain and waste of time trying to find a way to mark all my bookmarks private when bookmarking through a browser plugin. Why, delicious? Why?
  • Inconsistent tag naming - You could use spaces in an older versions of the Firefox plugin, but only commas in newer versions. Because it wasn't made clear, myself and I'm sure plenty of others, had had to go through tons of delicious bookmarks and convert tags like "programming jsp reference useful" into the 4 separate tags they should have been in the first place. Not cool)

And there were other unhappy campers.

Hello Pinboard

As delicious was going down, I learned of other social bookmarking sites, pinboard.in being one that caught my attention.

Throughout the years, I had migrated over from IE Favorites to Firefox Bookmarks to delicious bookmarks. I had hand curated my bookmarks and cleaned them up with link checkers to remove expired ones. It was time to move on to something better.

So last night, I finally made the switch and created an account on pinboard.in. It's not free mind you (there is a one time fee of about $9), but from everything I read it's worth it  Not to mention the guy behind it seems like a great chap and has his stuff together.

And from the first looks, I love it.

  • Importing almost 4500 bookmarks from both firefox and delicious was painless. Took a few minutes.
  • Interface is great, simple, minimal and quick, exactly what I wanted
  • Great default privacy settings give you the ability to 'add bookmarks as private by default'
  • 'enable public profile' is OFF by default
  • and more
I did notice there was no easy way to rename a tag in pinboard (there is a way though), but I'm planning to play around with the Pinboard API soon and see what I can cook up.

I'm sure pinboard is not perfect, but hey, it is the best I've found so far for my bookmarking needs.